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Chapter 13: How Could I Say No to That? (2)
There are many curses in the Infinite Labyrinth.
To begin with, there’s the one on Louie Permarten, although Permartens aren’t the only ones who can be cursed.
Anyone entering the Infinite Labyrinth gets randomly cursed.
According to the lore, anyway.
Anyone who enters the Labyrinth gets affected by its magic energy, and if you’re unlucky, you won’t walk out the same way you walked in.
For example, you could be bitten by a vampire that appears out of nowhere.
Or get injured by a werewolf and be turned into an inumimi*.
Or be cursed by a succubus and become one yourself.
According to the lore, it’s even possible to be turned into a demon or a devil.
(But aren’t demons and devils supposed to be your enemy? How can you be turned into one?)
(You don’t even understand the world that you’ve created. You’re not even doing your jobs properly as game developers!)
(Are curses even necessary? They don’t affect the game in any way.)
To address the criticism, the game director stated:
“We introduced curses to incorporate nekomimi* maid characters.”
The developers realised they couldn’t make enough money just off of human characters, so they came up with the curse to bring demon characters into the player’s party.
If you kill cursed monsters, they’ll drop lapis, which you can use for gacha.
(We love the curse.)
(Who cares about the lore!)
(We can have nekomimi maids in our party!)
Astarote is an adventurer under a succubus curse.
The curse lasts forever and makes you unable to leave Permarten, like me.
Most of the cursed people tend to live together in their own community.
Despite the fact that they used to be human, they have demonic appearances. To prevent others from being terrified by them, they live segregated from the rest of society in Area 13.
But if you install magic barriers to prevent the curse from progressing, you don’t necessarily need to live in Area 13.
“Scion, may I leave it to you to convince Astarote?”
That’s exactly what I wanted.
It’s actually easier for me to convince her myself since I already know what she’s like.
She used to be one of my top characters.
I cautiously knocked on the door.
“Pardon my intrusion. I’m Louie Permarten, the Scion of Permarten.”
A clear voice called out to me.
Her youthful and pleasant voice was somewhat of a defining characteristic for her.
She sounds a lot like her voice actor.
The voice actor probably gets a suspicious amount of work as loli characters…
Of course, they do sound a bit different, but to think that this is a woman’s voice under a succubus curse…
Oh, the joys of immoral pleasure…
She must be on the other side of the door.
Astarote, one of the ‘Three Horsemen of Loli.'
To be blunt, she’s legal.
As soon as I opened the door, I was met with a typical research chamber.
In the middle of the room, which was filled to the brim with magic books and research materials, poked out a small woman with purple hair that couldn’t have belonged to a human.
She would be just tall enough to reach my chest.
She was wearing a robe like a stereotypical mage, but she was still undergoing her transformation into a succubus.
“It’s nice to meet you. I’m Louie Permarten.”
“...Astarote. I have no family name. Hmm…”
She seemed wary of me, but it only lasted a moment.
“Thankfully, a Permarten's presence doesn’t seem to accelerate the progress of my curse.”
I’m playing dumb.
“Yes, I’m cursed. I opened the wrong treasure chest in the Labyrinth and was put under the succubus curse.”
“I see, that’s unfortunate. Is all this research an attempt to undo the curse?”
“Yes, just like many others attempting to undo the curse of the Infinite Labyrinth… Although I don’t think this is something that demands your attention, Scion.”
She’s worried about me.
“...Scion, I heard why you seek my help through the Master of the Tower. But… are you really fine with this?”
Recruiting her precisely will be difficult because she’s worried about me.
“If you recruit me, you may create a rumour that you’re trying to lift your curse.”
Again, this Permarten bullshit…
“And they’re convinced that if your curse is lifted, the Infinite Labyrinth will disappear.”
“What? Scion went to the tower?
“Yes. After having coffee for breakfast at the guild, he headed straight towards the tower…”
“What about the breakfast I prepared…?”
Countess Jenis Permarten clenched her fist.
I cooked for the first time in a long time and even cut my finger making breakfast, but you’re telling me he had some cheap coffee at the guild for breakfast instead?
It’s so embarrassing.
And annoying, and frustrating.
Of course, this was all Jennis’ fault for having prepared everything without ensuring the Scion was in.
“...Why is he at the Magic Tower?”
“From what I heard, the Scion was trying to recruit someone.”
“Was he looking for a woman? A pretty one at that?”
“Yes. Were you already aware of it?”
Jennis bit her bottom lip while she picked at the small cut on her finger.
“It… just didn’t seem like he would call upon a man.”
“Call upon? Would you happen to know something about this, Countess?”
Jennis stared at the head maid.
The head maid is someone who works for the Kingdom.
Even though she’s working here in Permarten, her loyalty still lies with the Kingdom.
Before she’s a subject of Permarten, she’s a subject of the King.
“Head Maid, clean up the rooms near the Scion’s. Dress up the ones being used for storage as bedrooms, as well.”
“Did you say bedrooms…?”
“Yes. Make sure they’re suitable for ladies.”
The head maid asked in shock.
“Is it possible that the Scion is…”
“That’s right. He’s looking for a wife.”
“My goodness. That means if they produce a child…”
“It will be great news for the entire continent since the Infinite Labyrinth will continue even if Louie dies.”
If Louie has a child, the Labyrinth will survive after his death.
“This is so unexpected. Permartens are known for having heirs late… Maybe he’s had a change of heart? With his hair too…”
“That must be it. Either he wants to have a child much sooner, or he must be wanting to focus on something else after raising his child.”
“Hmm… I won’t complain as long as he doesn’t take his anger out on us… Oh, please excuse my insolence…”
“No, what you said is the truth.”
Even the Countess had a difficult time defending Louie’s past behaviour.
He was complete trash, so she couldn’t help but be worried.
“If the Kingdom sees that Louie has changed, they’ll surely give you new instructions, right?”
“I don’t know, Countess. I don’t know whether they’ll take it at face value or not. If they discover that the Scion wants to produce an heir, the Kingdom might…”
“...Tell me to grab the child and kill Louie.”
A Permarten is only valuable if there’s only one. Once there are multiple, only one of them will retain any value.
A nice and obedient Permarten is much better than a scoundrel doing whatever they want.
“Hmm. What do we do?”
“Should I look into why the Scion went to see the mages?”
“...It needs to be investigated.”
Jennis bit her fingernail.
“...How dare he leave a mage like me behind when he visits the Magic Tower?”
Jennis shot a piercing gaze outside and glared at the Magic Tower.
She doesn’t want political turmoil.
“...that’s why I’m declining your offer. It’s for your sake.”
The very act of recruiting a mage could cause strife.
Astarote took a long time to thoroughly explain why she rejected me.
“Hmm. I’ll reject your rejection.”
“...I beg your pardon?”
“You must teach me magic, and you must become one of my knights who’ll clear the Labyrinth.”
Astarote furrowed her brow.
Of course, she would.
After she took the time to explain to me why she was saying no, I just told her, “I don’t care about any of that, just do what I tell you.”
I’m even telling her to do something that she can’t.
“I will end up turning into a succubus.”
She became more and more annoyed.
“Scion, it isn’t such a simple matter…”
“I’ll take full responsibility.”
“I’ll take care of you, Astarote. Permarten will protect you.”
Why am I hellbent on recruiting Astarote?
Is it because she’s good in battle?
Or is it because I need a mage right now?
Or is it because she’s hot?
Or is it because she’s a succubus?
“Even if you become a succubus, you will still be Astarote. I swear it upon my name.”
Sure, there are many reasons why and they’re all a bit complicated, but there’s one crucial reason.
And has ‘that’ body type.
But she isn’t underage.
Every single character in Prince Archive Order is—
“Be mine, Astarote.”
*TL note: An inumimi is a young girl with dog ears and a tail.
A nekomimi is a young girl with cat ears and a tail.
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